Summit Snapshots: 20 Years of Intersectionality at DU

A Collection of "I Am From" Poems

"I am from..." poems are a creative way to reflect on the many intersecting identities we all hold in the DU community. These poems allow us to contemplate the many experiences that shape the way we move about the world by guiding us through a sensory journey of some of our most memorable and influential moments in life. ODEI is happy to partner with Community + Values to create a spotlight centering the intersectionality of the DU community. This project features representation from students, faculty, staff, and alumni, giving a broad picture of what it means to be part of the DU community. We invite you to read the I Am poems of our community and learn more about the authors.

Please note, poems are listed in alphabetical order.

Want to submit your own I Am poem? Visit here. 

Interested in learning more about C+V Community Voices? Visit here.

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I am from.... by Alice Morris

I am from Lines of people seated and waiting, 
I am from Couples dancing at prom. and from A monotonous crowd,  
From Rose perfume. but also from Sweat. 
I am from Cotton candy at a fair and Blood. 

I am from The rustle of papers and the clack of computer keys,
From Classmates laughing and from My breath harsh and strained, 
But also from Familiarity 
Flights of stairs is what I am from, and also from French fries and milkshakes 

I am from Defeat. 
From the smell of The familiar smell of expo markers, and Coffee, perfume, and money 
But also from Freedom. and Strong bitter coffee at 8 AM, 
I am from People laughing, carefree, and from Tired victory after exams. 
That is what I am from  

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I am from... by Anonymous

I am from New Administration Speaking to the Podium,
I am from the color of my skin and from Staying up to Date on Political Events,  
From the scent of hypocrisy but also from fresh-baked and home-cooked 
I am from freedom and success 

I am from Sweet baby daughter calling out for attention,  
From the names I have been called and from the future calling 
But also from grateful 
my amazing daughter is what I am from, and also from food acquired   

I am from undeterred 
From the smell of acrid scent of ant spray from a new infestation and a hint of lies 
But also from breaking the bonds of oppression and sweet oats from a meal finally obtained 
I am from Listening to leaders and remaining objective and from overwhelmed and grateful for everything around me 
That is what I am from 

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I am from..... by Anonymous

I am from my wife/new office mate, 
I am from non-verbal social cues and from people like me
From sweat coming from within but also from barbecue and pizza 
I am from eating so as not to speak and barbecue and pizza 

I am from birds on our daily lunch walk,  
From pauses in conversation and from drop-in octaves 
But also from relaxed when we are together
trying to one-up each other is what I am from, and also from desserts every holiday 

I am from anxiety about everyone being comfortable 
From the smell of dinner being made and candles from Bath & Body Works 
But also from anxiety when I know I have to speak and coffee every weekend as we wake up 
I am from well-meaning but bad comments and from relaxed when we are together 
That is what I am from 

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I am from... by Anonymous

I am from Zoom faces popping up, 
I am from Skinned knees and from Others like me, always,  
From Cut grass but also from smoke in the air 
I am from Chocolate bars and Grilled onions   

I am from "What do you think?",  
From Boys laughing and from Live music 
But also from Comfort and ease, sameness 
The ranch, family photos is what I am from, and also from Pumpkin pie   

I am from Excitement, wholeness 
From the smell of Hot paper fresh off the printer and Thanksgiving spices wafting 
But also from Left out and Late night cookies during finals 
I am from Silence and from Light bulb moment 
That is what I am from 

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I am from..... by Anonymous

I am from the smell of pink princess shampoo and from snuggling close 
From Easter ham at the church potluck and passing the peace and also from dread  
I am from mom's sugar cookies and free sandwiches and boxes of tampons  

I am from my daughter kicking a soccer ball and from Kamala Harris being sworn in  
But also strangers commenting on my appearance  
I am from love at the women's retreat  
That is what I am from

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I am from... by Anonymous

I am from an island but I’ve lived in many places 
I am from a people that have descended from many “races” 
I am from the belief that I can be anything, be good to anyone, and achieve many things 
I am a warrior, lover, healer, traveler, builder, and a friend  
I am someone that believes that the human race has not yet achieved its end. 

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I am from... by Anonymous

I am from a letter grade that you were not expecting, 
I am from Being ignored because they don't think I speak English and from Getting bonus points added,  
From Carne Asada but also from Old people 
I am from Pan dulce and of the Eucharist   

I am from "Good job!",  
From "Oh! Hablas Espanol!" and from Singing 
But also from of Accomplishment 
People praying is what I am from, and also from hand sanitizer   

I am from Of safety 
From the smell of Dry erase marker and hot heater 
But also from Of Family and Refreshing water 
I am from Of the bell tower ringing and from the relief of getting a good grade 
That is what I am from 

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I am from... by Anonymous

I am from lines on a mirror, seeds, and leaves on a tray, 
I am from a paper stamp for food and from a church painted white,  
From weeds plague the dirt lot of lawn but also from last smell of a fathers embrace 
I am from cheapest food made good and salt streams from eye to mouth  

I am from laughter of my father's friends,  
From laughter rains around and from shouts from another room, my tv cannot drown 
But also from secure in family, comfort in belonging 
the last view of a father's face is what I am from, and also from roast and vegetables 

I am from insecure in all, comfort in none 
From the smell of childhood aroma of green and Sunday supper at grandma's house 
But also from insecure in provision, comfort has fled and mother's meatloaf 
I am from a chorus of hymns and laughter and from insecure in another move; comfort in daddy's arms 
That is what I am from 

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I am from... by Anonymous

I am from sun on blonde hair, 
I am from Megan's rainbow pin and from my dad's closet of suits,  
From Hot DC days but also from peppermint Altoids 
I am from many beers and acid and bile   

I am from yelling voice,  
From happy voices at Charlie's and from the ding of my meditation app 
But also from lack of money worries 
waiting for therapy to load is what I am from, and also from cheese boards   

I am from tension 
From the smell of cooking Ramen and Grandmother's musty house 
But also from confusion and chocolate cake 
I am from the double garage closing and from bony warm snuggles 
That is what I am from 

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I am from... by Anonymous

I am from Coffee Maker brewing in the morning, 
I am from Blabbering in the background and from Runners pass by me and my dog jogging,  
From Cedar from the morning but also from cedar 
I am from delicious caramel coffee and blue corn mush 

I am from The fan humming in the background,  
From My voice in a zoom meeting and from silence, peaceful 
But also from Feeling healthy and motivated 
The wide-open sky is what I am from, and also from Watermelon Jolly Rancher 

I am from LOVED 
From the smell of Toast and peanut butter lingering and The smell of outside, cold air 
But also from One moment at a time and Delicious banana smoothie! 
I am from Cars passing us, with music ringing in my ear and from Feeling of home is safe and wonderful 
That is what I am from  

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I am from... by Anonymous

I am from people at the food pantry, 
I am from People not like me and from people at a baseball stadium,  
From school food but also from Fresh air 
I am from blood and Soda 

I am from I love you's,  
From Being laughed at and from You can do anything 
But also from Comfort and being home 
Stronger than others is what I am from, and also from Pizza and Spaghetti 

I am from Accomplished 
From the smell of hot-dogs and mashed potatoes and wet grass and dirt 
But also from Scared and alone and McDonald's Sundays 
I am from Praying at church and from Scared of what is next 
That is what I am from 

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I am from..... by Anonymous

I am from Neatly organized vanity for two,
I am from Dirty looks from passersby and from  A glint of a silver cross necklace,  
From Car exhaust but also from too many perfumes 
I am from Bitterness and Plastic 

I am from Collaborative playlists dependent on mood,  
From Sweet music written by women about women and from Muffled pop music piped in from above 
But also from Disgust and shame 
Friendly women in the department store are what I am from, and also from Hot metal-blood in my throat 

I am from Image is everything, rather than comfort 
From the smell of freshly baked bread and Old coffee breath 
But also from Fear of attack and Craving sweet and salty snacks 
I am from a Muttered comment under breath and from Peace and comfort 
That is what I am from

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I am from... by Anonymous

I am from the classroom, my bedroom, and the classroom again, 
I am from evil smirks of men and from Pale skin on every seat,  
From beads of sweat but also from chinchilla food 
I am from blood as my teeth cut into my tongue and fruit snacks 

I am from my sibling's voices "maybe next time", 
From catcalls down the street and from "not until you're older" 
But also from naivety 
my peer's success is what I am from, and also from cosmic brownies   

I am from inadequate 
From the smell of a different city, unfamiliar and strange and taco meat in a Dorito bag 
But also from scared and untrusting and disappointment and Honeycrisp apple cider 
I am from "amen" and from loneliness 
That is what I am from 

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I am from..... by Anonymous

I am from Table in the dining room,
I am from Bus full of white people and from Pink decorations for woman,  
From Spicy but also from Perfume 
I am from Spicy soup noodles and Donuts 

I am from Keys in the lock,  
From Restaurant speaks French and from Rock music 
But also from Being watched 
Colorful hairs is what I am from, and also from Afternoon tea 

I am from Free 
From the smell of Burnt food from kitchen and Perfume 
But also from Unique in a bad way and Every different early breakfast before school 
I am from Welcome in the store and from Safe and partly unsafe 
That is what I am from  



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I am from... by Anonymous

I am lines on a mirror, seeds, and leaves on a tray, laughter of father's foolish friends, 
childhood aroma of sweet mary jane  
mother's meatloaf again 
insecure in uncertainty; comfort in love 

I am a church painted white,  
a chorus of hymns and gaiety  
grandma's dinner Sunday night 
roast, vegetables, gravy 
secure in family, comfort in home 

I am a paper stamp for food 
unheard laughter rains around 
I am cheap food made good  
no green for lawn, weeds plague the ground  
insecure in provision, comfort has fled  

I am the last view of a father's face 
shouts from the kitchen, my tv cannot drown 
the last scent of a fathers embrace 
from eye to mouth, bitter salt flows down  

I am  
insecure in all, comfort unfound 
that is what I am. 

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I am from..... by Anonymous

I am from white quiz screen, 
I am from darkness and from doubt,  
From soap but also from your roommate's girlfriend's bad cooking 
I am from stale and your roommate's girlfriend's bad cooking 

I am from automobile noise pollution and keystrokes just a little bit too loud,  
From quiet and from the hum of machines that regulate your environment 
But also from indignation 
white screen, black everything else is what I am from, and also from everything 

I am from tired 
From the smell of spilt beer and wet dog 
But also from uninvitingly smooth and morning breath 
I am from much and from soft, Chinese blankets 
That is what I am from  

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I am from..... by Anonymous

I am from hand me downs, 
I am from pepper spray on key chains and from family,  
From burnt hair but also from weed from someone upstairs 
I am from double-checked drinks and blood from the inside of my mouth 

I am from a loud house with siblings and, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, and everyone there,  
From catcalls and white noise machine 
But also from memory 
overflowing assignments is what I am from, and also from burnt cookies 

I am from constant anxiety 
From the smell of chicken wings and burning candles 
But also from "am I safe" and dinner mints 
I am from Billy Joel and from thankful siblings are coming home 
That is what I am from

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I am from... by Apshara

I am from children crying, scrabbling through the airport, 
I am from dust, clutter, and from sunlight, DU's backyard,  
From rain but also from carpet 
I am from dust and the taste of chocolate 

I am from loud, busy, bustling voices,  
From river flowing and from gunshots 
But also from relieved 
a broken window is what I am from, and also from sweet apple 

I am from scared 
From the smell of pakoras and carpet 
But also from absolute sadness and nothing except bitter 
I am from calm, I heard nothing and from scared, lost, homesick 
That is what I am from 

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I am from.... by Brandon Ferguson

I am from the endless mountains, 
I am from not knowing the reflection in the mirror and from the different phases of the moon,  
From mahogany taekwood candles but also from caramel tea 
I am from vegetable soup and nothing 

I am from "I love you",  
From the changing wind and from music to drown out my thoughts 
But also from indifference from myself and others 
my wall is what I am from, and also from beautifully green smoothies 

I am from dullness and melancholy 
From the smell of the fresh and crisp air and amber wood 
But also from fear and hope and takeout food 
I am from the conflicting voices of my mind and from care and courage 
That is what I am from

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I am from..... by Brianna Johnson

I am from two homes,
I am from keys between my knuckles and from colorblindness then hyper-awareness, 
From ambition but also from funnel cakes
I am from success and hamburgers

I am from I love you, 
From 90s pop music and from every genre of music
But also from privilege
public school is what I am from, and also from mashed potatoes 

I am from conflicted
From the smell of fondue oil and fear of imperfection
But also from powerful and two of each holiday meal
I am from English and from pride
That is what I am from

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I am from..... by Chenthu Jayachandiran

I am from expectant faces looking up,
I am from Green card that isn't quite green and from My wife walking down the aisle, 
From Salty ocean and coconut milk but also from All hospitals that smell the same
I am from Sweet Mangoes and spicy chili and Gross chocolate pudding 

I am from "I teach students, not content", 
From "Brown Asians don't count" and from "6 months to full-recovery"
But also from Responsibility to make things right
Life Saving IV is what I am from, and also from Soggy Mac and Cheese

I am from shooting pain up my spine
From the smell of Moldy in a windowless office and Smelly kitchen
But also from Never belonging and Too many protein bars
I am from "I do" and #MeToo and from Fulfillment
That is what I am from 


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I am from….by Christine Gallager

I am from Early morning on the clock, 
I am from Eyes on me, all the time and from People that look like me, everywhere I look,  
From God forbid you don't smell like a flower all the time but also from Stale classrooms and sweetgrass in the quad 
I am from Biting my tongue, planning my actions and Dining hall food and another day of leftovers 

I am from Sweet babbles all day long,  
From Letting them explain what I already understand and from "cha-ching" - another loan payment 
But also from Belonging, even when I didn't earn it 
Doors opening for me to step through is what I am from, and also from A lingering "weird taste" about how that went 

I am from Possibilities and limits, all at once 
From the smell of Fresh skin and sweat and milk and Clean clothes 
But also from Power, danger, grace, guilt, enough and Cold meals every time 
I am from Silence as my opinion is considered and from My heart walking outside of my body 

That is what I am from  

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I am from... by Desiree J Frierson

I am from Everything I must do, 
I am from The beauty of me and from the future,  
From the breath of my patience tested but also from Worship 
I am from my own bias and Sweet   

I am from My thoughts are so loud,  
From  a louder voice of my community and from I must listen closer 
But also from Confidence 
look up to the hill from which... is what I am from, and also from Victory   

I am from stay ready, anchored, deep at peace 
From the smell of Deep Breaths and love, family, and worship to God 
But also from pride and frustration and Mouth is dry 
I am from I must listen closely and from strength, pride, fear and alone 
That is what I am from 


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I am Em Rodriguez

I am from love, 
I am from red, white, and blue, 
But some may only see red, white, and green. 
I am from hard-working and working too hard, 
To being underestimated. 

I am from giving, 
And I am from where giving is not enough. 
I am from home-cooked meals and restaurants. 
I am from friends and family that mean so much. 

I am from the mountains to the beach within a sunrise and sunset. 
I am from sports and music of all types. 
I am from you can do anything you set your mind to, 
To also from being your number one fan. 

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I am Grace Hom

I am a hunter 
searching for beauty 
in the woods of the subconscious.  

I am a gatherer 
collecting stories in the fields of life 
to feed a narrative of unity consciousness. 

I am a light-weaver 
warping divergent strands of thought 
through the heart loom of wholeness. 

I am a hacker 
stealing the algorithms of destruction 
to keep the doomsday clock from striking midnight. 

I am a sorceress 
taming the dragons of pain 
to revel in the enchantment of everyday magic. 

I am a seer 
vision-holding a victory 
of the heart’s knowing. 

I am a poet 
celebrating the human 
through the lyrical and the prosaic. 
I am a child 
playing in parallel universes of time 
to be more present in this one. 

I am a woman 
holding sacred space 
for wisdom and joy to shelter us. 

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I am from... by Lynda Duran

I am from Stacks of coffee-stained books, 
I am from a Crowded kitchen and from Clothing neatly compartmentalized,  
From Hot, smoky green chile but also from Spoiled milk stains 
I am from Warm, buttery tortillas and Lingering coffee breath 

I am from Keyboard clicking through a stream of consciousness,  
From Belly laughs and from Crashing plastic toys 
But also from Buttery soft leggings 
Couch cuddles is what I am from, and also from Strawberry lip gloss 

I am from Warmth and exhaustion 
From the smell of Dank library basement stacks and Yves Saint Laurent mist 
But also from Panza llena, corazon contento and Leftover fideo 
I am from Fingernails and high heels tapping and from Heavy eyelids crawling through lines and lines of a black and white PDF. 
That is what I am from 

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I am from… by Lynda Medina

I am from the sun, the ocean, and the seas. 
From the indigenous Taino ancestry.  
I am from a family of many beautiful colors,  
From a mestizaje of Indian, Spanish, and African culture.  

I am from a welcoming place full of great wisdom to make you stronger.  
From an island that has fought for our freedoms and lost many soldiers.  
I am from a small island that from the sky above is hard to see,  
But it has shown me an enormous will of resiliency.  

Vejigante masks and bomba y plena is what I am from,  
and also from a warm ocean breeze and crashing waves.  
From a place that instilled in me humility, passion, and grace.  
I am from a people full of warm smiles and ancestral pride.  
A place of promise and love that can’t be denied.  
This is what I am from. 

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I am from..... by Mari Henderson

I am from Endless piles of books,
I am from Quizzical stares at my hair and from Clothes I always feel comfortable wearing, 
From Hair relaxers but also from Anxiety sweat
I am from Food delivered by a racist and Avocado toast
I am from Furious keyboard typing, 
From "Well you're different" and from "We're looking for more experience"
But also from Comfort in my own body
My student debt figure is what I am from, and also from Not having to take hormones
I am from I will never catch up
From the smell of A library after midnight and "Feminine" perfumes or deodorants
But also from Discomfort in identifying myself and Morning coffee
I am from Correctly assumed pronouns and from Stress, but excitement
That is what I am from

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I am from…by Max Turek

I am from "you can't do that, only boys can do that." 
I am from scabby knees and a spray of dermoplast. 
I am from "we work hard for what we have." 
I am from "don't trust them, their culture is bad." 

I am from Danish cookies during Christmas time, 
and the bootstraps that helped me climb. 
From Mormon missionaries to religiously wary, 
From internal conflict to "it finally clicks." 

I am from cherry blossoms that fall during winter and regrow in the summer. 
I am from my father, sister, brother, and mother, 
but most of all I am from me, 
because I figured out who I wanted to be. 

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I am from..... by Meghan Montelibano-Gorman

I am from caring faces, 
I am from my parents and from pdf reader,  
From fresh cooked rice but also from a clean house 
I am from adobo and a 4-course meal 

I am from laughter,  
From taglish and from chitter chatter 
But also from overwhelmed 
a group of women together is what I am from, and also from ramen 

I am from torn 
From the smell of a good anthro candle and coffee 
But also from distance and coffee 
I am from lo fi beats and from fullness 
That is what I am from  

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I am from... by Selena Ayleen Naumoff

I am from a blank Word document, 
I am from toes kicking my toes and from paler than death skin,  
From his stinking sweat but also from cherry chapstick 
I am from unwanted mouth on mine and peppermint schnapps 

I am from my mother calling on the phone,  
From "your lips say no, your eyes say yes" and from the rolling ocean 
But also from unearned protection 
thinning opportunities is what I am from, and also from cheeseburgers 

I am from loneliness 
From the smell of new and old book pages and freshly mown grass 
But also from fear, disgust, rage, and dad's stuffed green peppers 
I am from silence and from forever nights; sleepy mornings 
That is what I am from 

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I am from.... by Sophia P. Sarantakos

I am from deep fear and desire, to boundless and unnamable  
I am from long black hair and the smell of chlorine to weight-free chests  
I am from crowds and Chaka Khan to wide roads and Phish  
I am from sad and missing community to bright faces in small squares  
I am from cold, painful wind, to ash-filled, smoky air I am from loud, trampling thoughts, to persistent, soft-footed ones  
This is some of what I am from 

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I am from... by Stephanie Mann

I am from wooden spoons 
From Dawn dish soap and doggie treats 
I am from the white house on the hill, (old, split, warm) 
I am from apple and cherry trees, 
Planted to welcome us into my stepdad’s home 
I’m from Christmas carols and goofy antics 
From Tutu and Grammy Dites 
I’m from lighthearted responses and caretaking 
From “she’s your daughter” and “Long Legs Lenore” 
I’m from the spirit of Christmas, always so sacred and special 
I’m from Colorado and Scandinavia 
Chicken and rice, mac and cheese 
From Uncle Kevin who sang us Puff the Magic Dragon over and over when we were children 
The quirkiness of Aunt NoNo who always served too many rolls and laughed at my brother and I Brawling at family softball 
Memory boxes, photo albums, scrapbooks, and frames. 
Keeping our memories positive and discarding the negative 

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